Some historically black colleges are in financial turmoil

A member of a Morehouse College graduating class wears a customized cap during commencement ceremonies.

Jeremy Hobson: This weekend Howard University and Morehouse College face off in the Nation's Football Classic.

The annual game honors historically black colleges and universities. But it comes at a time when many are struggling to stay afloat.

Amy Scott reports from the Marketplace Education Desk at WYPR in Baltimore.


Amy Scott: Last week Morris Brown College in Atlanta filed for bankruptcy after decades of financial turmoil.

It's one of more than 100 historically black colleges in the country.

Marybeth Gasman with the University of Pennsylvania says several smaller schools are struggling with debt and declining enrollment.

Marybeth Gasman: The majority of them are enrolling low-income, first generation, sometimes underprepared students. That's part of their historic mission. And when you do that, it is harder to retain students.

The economy has hurt many colleges without large endowments or alumni support.

John Wilson directs the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

John Wilson: That's what's happening at a lot of institutions-not just black institutions, and it is causing a lot of stress.

Last week the oldest junior college in Texas -- Lon Morris -- cancelled its fall semester after filing for bankruptcy last month.

I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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